It is with sadness, yet joy, that the family of retired Lt. Col. Joseph Logan Clark announces his passing very early Monday morning, Nov. 19, 2012, following a long illness - sadness because he will be so deeply missed and joy because his spirit is no longer bound by illness but is with the Lord. Col. Clark, who celebrated his 90th birthday this year, resided in Indian River Colony Club in Melbourne, Fla., with his beloved wife of 67 years, Norell, after relocating from Fort Walton Beach, Fla., in 1988.|
Col. Clark was born the sixth of 12 children in Macon County, North Carolina, after midnight on July 25, 1922, to Robin Henry Clark and Sudie Elizebeth Bowman. While his family was poor, it was rich in love and encouragement. His oldest sister, Leona, a teacher, instilled in him his love of learning. After moving to Alto, Ga., in 1933, Col. Clark encountered golf, as a caddy, for the first time and developed a lifelong love for the game. He graduated as valedictorian from his high school in Gainesville, Ga., and attended Rabun Gap Junior College in June 1940. In December 1942, Col. Clark enlisted and became a member of the Army Air Corps and a B-17 pilot. Following the end of World War II, Col. Clark returned to college and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in vocational agriculture from the University of Georgia and taught vocational education in the Veteran's Farm Training Program at Norcross, Ga. He later earned his master's degree in education from Northwestern State University in Louisiana.
Col. Clark was recalled into military service in March 1951 for the Korean War and entered the elite training program of the Strategic Air Command, serving in the nuclear command and flying B-50s. Later entering the B-47 program, he became a member of the Second Bomb Wing, Hunter Air Force Base, Georgia. After Hunter, his military service included Command and Control, leading to tours of duty at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana (Second Air Force), and Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. For his final tour of duty before retirement, Col. Clark served in the Vietnam War as director of command and control for the Eighth Air Force and, based in Guam, flew as the senior airborne officer on many combat missions in both the B-52 and KC-135 aircraft. After retiring on July 1, 1971, Col. Clark devoted his time to his family and building a home in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Col. Clark is quoted as saying, "When I think of the three wars, my family and friends and my many other good fortunes, I must say that God truly has been my co-pilot."
In his poem "A Psalm of Life," Longfellow tells us, "Lives of great men all remind us, We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sand of time." The footprints of our hero and greatly beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather have enriched the lives of so many. Among those are his survivors: wife, Norell; children, Peggy Jo Clark Pence and Roger William Clark; grandchildren, Sean Michael Pence, Shannon Michelle Pence, Joseph Roger Clark and James Logan Clark; and great-grandchildren, Logan Sean Pence, Deven Julia Pence and Tyler John Pence. He is survived by three of his 11 siblings, Mary Louise Clark, Amos Rainie Clark and Mildred Ruth Clark Dougherty.
A funeral service, officiated by Chaplain Kenneth Cocker, will be held on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, at the Beckman-Williamson Funeral Home, 5400 Village Drive, Viera, Fla., at 2 p.m. Col. Clark will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, with military honors. The family wishes to extend our deepest gratitude and love to Jackie Payne for her love and devotion and for the dignity with which she cared for "Mr. Joe" during his illness. He dearly loved her in return.
You can sign Col. Clark's guestbook at beckmanwilliamson.com.
Beckman-Williamson Funeral Home, Viera, Fla.
Published in gainesvilletimes.com on Nov. 24, 2012